Patrick Fitzgerald now U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois is among several witnesses lined up for an oversight hearing Tuesday before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law to discuss the use of special counsels in Department of Justice investigations.
Joining Fitzgerald who was the special counsel in the CIA leak case of Valerie Plame that led to the conviction of ex-White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby on perjury charges will be Georgetown University Law Center Professor Neal Katyal, Lee Casey of Baker Hostetler, Carol Elder Bruce of Venable and Barry Coburn of Coburn & Coffman. Katyal, Casey, Bruce and Coburn all served in the Justice Department over the years in different roles and some served in independent counsel investigations as well.
The hearing comes amid recent unsuccessful calls in Congress for the appointment of a special counsel in the CIA tapes controversy. Last month, Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused to appoint a special counsel. Mukasey instead tapped Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut to oversee the criminal investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia after U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg recused himself.
Prior to Tuesday’s 1 p.m. hearing in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House building, the subcommittee on commercial and administrative law also plans to discuss whether to issue a resolution calling for a subpoena of former Attorney General John Ashcroft.
The subpoena would be “for testimony and related documents...regarding deferred prosecution agreements and independent corporate monitors.” As part of a no-bid contract arranged by federal prosecutors in New Jersey, Ashcroft’s consultancy firm is expected to earn between $28 and $52 million while it oversees the compliance program of an Indiana medical supply company.